Don’t lose your link juice after a change of domain name

Planning a branding revamp? Got the domain name you’ve always wanted, or tempted to change to a new domain extension? Cool, whack your new domain name on your website, reprint your business card, let’s go. Whoah, stop right there! Your old domain name might not have been the best, but it’s got good link juice…

by Meg - 17.07.2015

What’s link juice?

Google loves a website with healthy link juice and it’ll score those sites higher in search ranking.

Each page on your website has link juice that flows between the pages, inbound and outbound. The value of the juice is based on the quality of the links, with each page having its own score. It's always quality over quantity, lots of legitimate links = lots of valuable link juice. A link to one of your pages from a website with good domain authority, i.e., valuable links and content relevant to yours, will collect page ranking points. This in turn, will move your website to a better position search engines.

Google’s goal is to return high quality and relevant answers to searches. To do this Google uses PageRank, a link analysis algorithm which determines the value of website pages/domain authority, by analysing the quality of the inbound and outbound links.

Don’t forget to renew your old domain name!

“No thanks, I'm going to let it expire. I'm worried it might mislead users and diminish our new branding.”

STOP!

You're updating your branding and this includes changing the domain name of your company website. It's a domain name you've been using for some time, so it has an online history. Because of this history, it’s a domain name of value that competitors and the like will be interested in registering.

It’s now available for anyone to register, reputable or otherwise. Aside from the possibility of your website's old domain name being used on an undesirable site (porn, dodgy products, spam, etc.), it also means that all that cool link juice and traffic you built up around your domain name is now potentially working for someone else – and there’s not a lot you can do about it because you gave the name up.

Your newly named website is live, yahoo! Your old domain name has been registered and is already working on a new website. Don’t be surprised to see your old domain name with a better page ranking than your new site - all thanks to your history and your link juice.

Protect your link juice, it’s good for you

Your old domain name has valuable juice and a good reputation. Why, when rebranding your website, would you throw it away? Keep your old domain name; don’t lose the traffic and endorsements that it’s earned.

There’re some things you must remember to do when changing your domain name:

  • You need to map or redirect all old domain URLs to their new versions. 301 redirect everything, page to page, don't cut corners and just redirect to the new homepage.
  • To rank your website, Google has to be able to crawl all over it without stumbling, so update your sitemap and resubmit it.
  • Check for 404 error messages or broken links. Then check again.
  • Set your old domain name to automatic renewal, then you know that no one else is getting your link juice, traffic, or page ranking.

Don’t surrender your link juice!

There are many reasons why you might decide to change your domain name, such as rebranding, refocussing your marketing, getting the name you’ve been chasing for years, or registering a keyword new domain extension. Whatever the reason, if your website’s domain name was online, even for a short period, it will have good juice. Don’t surrender your domain name, or your link juice!

Own your juice!

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